IOM and UNESCO Launch a New Project to Promote Peaceful Co-existence in Wau, South Sudan
Juba - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in partnership with the Government of South Sudan have launched a project focusing on working with criminalized and at-risk youth.
The project will be implemented over the next 18 months to address the absence of opportunities and provide youth with alternatives to violence and crime, while at the same time aiming to remedy the harmful gender and social norms that may affect youth, especially females.
The project, titled ‘Youth Action for Reduced Violence and Enhanced Social Cohesion in Wau, Western Bahr-el Ghazal’ is funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund to the tune of USD 1.5 million.
Prolonged conflict in South Sudan has denied many young people access to employment and opportunities to education.
“This is a unique project in Wau,” said David Jango, the Director-General in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports.
“No other project has targeted youth involved or at risk of getting involved in criminal activity and social delinquency. As the government, we welcome this timely intervention and assure the implementing partners of our full support,” he added.
“This launch is about supporting young people organize themselves peacefully, engage constructively and to add value to their communities. Young people are the future of today, we cannot wait until tomorrow, and therefore I am particularly happy that partners are engaging directly with young people, taking words into action,” said Benjamin Moore, the Peacebuilding focal point from the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in South Sudan.
Speaking at the event, Riad Marrow, IOM’s Head of Sub-Office in Wau, said: “the project contributes to peacebuilding efforts in South Sudan through a comprehensive approach centred on working directly with criminalized and ‘at risk’ youth in Wau town. I believe that this multi-sectoral intervention will bear fruit and enhance social cohesion and reduction of violence and criminality, particularly reduction in gender-based violence.”
UNESCO will focus on skills development through giving opportunities for vocational training and education.
“We will support out of school children and youth to participate in training and educational programmes in Wau. Beneficiaries of the training programme will be supported to help them start up small businesses to improve their livelihoods,” said a representative of UNESCO.
During the launch of the project, young people from the area had a space to express their views on the project.
“As youth, we feel like the society is judging us harshly and not listening to our side of the story. Not all of us who dress in modern trends or attend youth parties are engaged in criminal activities. Most of us are just having fun as youth. We wear clothes according to trending fashions. I wish our parents and elders can listen to us and understand us. I hope this project will give us opportunities to have conversations with our elders,” expressed a young woman who was at the event.
The objectives of the project are well aligned with the National Development Strategy (NDS), which addresses peacebuilding and economic recovery. It is anticipated that intervention will lead to reduction of violence and criminality and enhanced social cohesion among communities in Wau town.
For more information, please contact: Liatile Putsoa at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211912380104, Email: [email protected]